Rio Paralympics archer, Shaun Anderson, has been dealt another devastating blow and has been left paralysed from the waist down after a boating accident.
A few years back Anderson’s left arm was amputated after a motorcycle accident.
But true to form, Anderson, the life and soul of Team SA at last year’s Games, is not letting this latest setback get him down.
It seems the Tuks archer is now even more motivated not to give up on his dream to represent South Africa at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
The quote saying ‘getting knocked down in life is a given. Getting up and moving forward is a choice’ summarises Anderson’s never-say-die attitude.
‘At this stage, I’m not sure whether I will be standing up and shooting or whether I am going to sit in a wheelchair and shoot. All I know that is that I am going to do my utmost to represent South Africa at the next Paralympic Games. I owe it to myself and the sport to do so.
‘The words “cannot” and “give up” will never be part of my vocabulary. My life was changed forever last year when I represented South Africa at the Paralympic Games in Rio. You don’t work so hard and commit so much just to quit when faced with a setback. Competing at the Games proved to me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.’
The boating accident where Anderson was paralysed happened at Shelly Beach in KwaZulu-Natal. According to him, they planned to go deep sea fishing, but things went awry very quickly.
First, the boat’s engine stalled. But the real drama began when a freak wave hit the boat. Anderson was sitting at the front of the boat when it happened. He was sent crashing right through the cockpit. His back bore the brunt of the impact and says he was unconscious for about two minutes.
‘My first thought when I regained consciousness was the safety of my family. We realised that there was a real risk that the boat could capsize if hit by another big wave.
‘So we had to get everybody off the boat as quickly as possible. I was the second last person to go into the sea. It was only then that I realised that something big was wrong as I could not feel my legs.’
Anderson said he is not sure whether he would be able to walk again.
‘I’m undergoing intensive rehabilitation daily we will just have to wait and see whether it is going to work. I’m certainly not going to give up,’ said the Tuks archer.
He is planning to start shooting again this week – in between rehabilitation sessions.
Picture of Anderson courtesy of Tuks Archery